Teacher handgun training, Big Red Car?
Big Red Car here on a gloomy, sticky 72F and gray day in the ATX. The tragedy of Parkland is still with us and making us contemplate good and bad ideas in the heat of the moment. Never a good idea to make decisions in the heat of the moment, but that is where we are.
Big question to consider. Should we arm teachers?
Do teachers want to be armed, Big Red Car?
The Big Red Car expected this to be a contentious issue, but it was illuminating when an Ohio Sheriff in Butler County offered free handgun training to teachers. This was post-Parkland. Within five hours, more than 300 teachers signed up for the training.
Ohio has 225 school districts and each district has to decide for itself what they want to do.
This policy – arming school teachers – is consistent with the position of the National Rifle Association and was suggested by President Trump, though he has not said he definitely supports the notion.
The teacher response in a single county bears considertion.
What are they doing in Texas, Big Red Car?
Texas has had a law since 2013, the Protection of Texas Children Act, which creates a new category of peace officers. The new class is called a “school marshal” and can be a principal, coach, custodian, or teacher. They can only perform their duties when there is an active shooter.
The position has some specific requirements:
1. The same background investigation as a law enforcement officer undergoes to be commissioned as a police officer;
2. A psychological evaluation and a physical fitness test;
3. Initial and periodic active shooter training which is 80 hours (30 hours of dual instruction and solo flight is required to get a private pilots license) – teacher handgun training – and given by police academies;
4. Safeguarding of weapons. School marshals while in direct contact with students must secure their weapon under lock and key in close proximity. Those not in direct contact with students carry their weapon in a “concealed carry” mode.
5. School marshals must use “frangible” ammunition – bullets which fracture upon impact and pose a lower risk of hitting innocent bystanders.
6. The ratio of school marshals to students is one school marshal to each 200 students. For small schools who do not have at least 400 students, the ratio is one marshal to each building.
The program provides that the district school board must approve of those who volunteer for the program, but the persons’ identity is held confidential and they carry their weapons concealed.
The Texas Guardian Plan
Individual school districts can make the decision to arm teachers under the auspices of the Guardian Plan which predates the Protection of Texas Children Act.
Under this program, school districts may design their own plans.
Bottom line it, Big Red Car – teacher handgun training
1. There are 1,023 independent school districts in Texas.
2. 15% of school districts have their own organic police force which is armed.
3. 24% of school districts directly employ “resource officers” who are not teachers. These resource officers are armed.
4. 15% – 172 – of school districts have instituted teacher carry programs either under the school marshal program or the Guardian Plan.
More than half of the school districts in Texas have taken action to safeguard their vulnerable students.
One last thought – Texas has led the nation on his because it has a working relationship with guns because of its rural ranch culture and the long time for first responders to reach outlying rural jurisdictions. If it takes 20 minutes for law enforcement to reach the scene of the crime, the damage is done. Texas is a little different in that way, y’all. Remember that.
Bravo, Texas! The rest of y’all consider your duties and do them.
What is not discussed is what private schools are doing.